Ford Lightning Sales PlungeOctober 5, 2023
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) says it wants to be the number one electric vehicle (EV) company in America. Its aspirations got a setback when it announced third-quarter sales. Sales of its EV flagship, the F-150 Lightning, fell from a meager 6,464 last year to a tiny 3,503, a drop of 46%. Ironically, sales of the gasoline-powered version of the F-150 rose 13.4% to 190,477. Ford hopes to sell tens of thousands of units of the Lightning next year. Based on the quarterly figures, that seems extremely unlikely. (These are America’s 17 favorite pickup trucks.)
Ford said plant downtime and slow demand for the Lightning were the reasons for lackluster sales. Neither is a good sign. Ford should keep open plants building such a critical product. Demand for a vehicle that Ford expects to ride into the EV future should be extremely strong.
Ford has struggled with EVs in general. It was supposed to hit an EV production rate of 600,000 by the end of this year. That was put off until next year. Ford also said the pace of production for the Lightning would be 150,000 at year-end because of demand. What happened to demand last quarter?
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The Lightning trouble remains a sign of Ford’s management problems, which, in the past, has caused mistakes about expenses and increases in Lightning prices. A global manufacturer should do better, not only by a modest margin.
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In the past two years, Ford’s stock price has retreated 21%, while the S&P 500 is off 3%. If the markets believed Ford’s story about its future, this would not have happened.
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